Inside the stunning coastline wedding of Michila and Nick.
On how they met:
We initially (and very briefly) met in a storage cage in East London in 2011. I was living with a mutual friend of ours in London. Nick happened to have a car and was roped in to helping us move. I didn’t see Nick again for another 18 months when we had both moved back to Australia. I was invited by the same mutual friend to an annual Easter camping trip that involved a tennis tournament that Nick and his friends take very seriously in Myrtleford, in Victoria’s high country. In between Nick playing his games, we managed fleeting moments of getting to know each other. After a weekend of subtle flirting, Nick crept into my tent on the last night and asked for permission to call me when we got back to Melbourne to ask me out on a date. And surprisingly, he did just that, he called. No text, no email. And old school phone call.
On the proposal:
Nick’s family have a beach house down at Aireys Inlet, on Victoria’s West Coast. We spend as much time as possible down there and spent most of our first winter visiting for weekends at a time. It was only fit that Nick would propose on the cliff walk above the beach that we did most visits. Like most brides, I (unknowingly) did everything from preventing it from actually happening: refusing to go to the beach, then deciding to go to the beach, after I freshened myself up and made something to eat. I also packed a bag with about eight heavy glossy magazines to take to the beach with us. Nick was literally a pack horse. And we were never even going to the beach, just to the first spot on the cliff walk, where Nick proposed with the ring (a Canturi ring that I had my eyes on since 2006 when I saw it on the back cover of Harper’s BAZAAR Australia). It sat on my inspirational wall at work, I manifested that one day it would be mine. I promised myself that if I wasn’t married by the time I was 40, I would buy for myself as a birthday present.
On their vision for the day:
As ours was a destination wedding, we had a vision for the whole weekend: relaxed and inclusive. We had many friends coming from overseas and interstate, some that had never met each other, so we wanted to host welcome drinks on the Friday evening on the lawn at Halcyon House to allow people to get to know each other. This also gave us the opportunity to say hello to everyone before the actual wedding day, which meant we were able to really enjoy the day without the pressure of trying to connect with everyone.
On the location:
We started looking at places and felt everything was a little bit ‘cookie cutter’. Given Nick’s experience across events, and his stubborn attitude, it was really hard to get him on board with most venues or ideas. He either felt like it had been done before or didn’t offer enough flexibility for him to put his own unique stamp on it. We wanted to be able to customise more than most venues permitted. Nick sent me an online article about Halcyon House and it was the first and only place that we both fell in love with. A date was set, and a deposit paid within days. Halcyon House already has such a unique beautiful Amalfi coast feel, so we were mindful not to over style it, and let the venue do its thing instead. Nick works in events, so he had a vision of how we could move everyone through the different spaces at Halcyon, from the pre-ceremony drinks, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and then finally the dance floor/impromptu pool party.
How many guests attended:
We had 90 guests.
On the food:
We started with a mix of assorted canapés, followed by a three course sharing menu. The first and second servings offered a host of seafood options, varying from kingfish to prawns, while the third serving, with Waygu beef and pork was for the meat-eaters. We finished with ice cream by the pool.
On the style of reception:
We served pre-ceremony drinks for half an hour. We wanted our guests to be relaxed with champagne in hand and great music being played to get everyone in the mood and take that awkward edge off. After the ceremony we had standing canapés for a few hours, followed by a seated dinner.
On the flowers:
I took into consideration the venue, location and my love of blue hydrangeas. These were my feature flower. I never wanted a plain white bouquet, so I worked with my florist on the colour scheme of white, green and blue interspersed with lots of mint (which smelt divine). Bec has a soft, feminine and a slightly edgy signature style, which is why I choose her. My only direction was strictly no natives. We left it too late to get an Arbour, so very last minute Bec organised to make a garland instead and hang in the tree that stood behind us where we got married. She also created beautiful urns on either side of the aisle, which looked absolutely gorgeous.
On the unexpected moments of the day:
One of the highlights of the day was when we continued to party after the reception in my bridesmaid’s room. Nick and I snuck off, took a bottle of Vintage champagne that Nick’s dad had had left in our room and watched our party continue on the balcony from the pool. It was a pretty special moment that we got to share just the two of us. Another funny moment was when there was a miscommunication and my guests were instructed that the bride would like to do something different and have confetti thrown at her while she walks down the aisle towards Nick. My dad and I were covered. All I could do was laugh hysterically, which caught on. So we started the ceremony laughing, which ended up setting the tone.
On their favourite element of the wedding:
Our ceremony was definitely our favourite part. I felt the most relaxed walking towards Nick and standing there with him than I did for the entire weekend. We chose our celebrant, Shane, as he had a non-traditional approach to ceremonies. He worked with us to tell our story in a humorous tone, rather than too seriously.
Was there anything you added that was very special to you?
Nick’s brother, Ben, and his girlfriend are both hearing impaired and very reliant upon sign language, so we had our ceremony printed for them to follow, and organised an interpreter for the speeches, to ensure they could share in the laughter and tears.
On the dress:
It didn’t take me long to decide on the dress. There were only a handful of designers that I liked and Suzanne Harward was one of them. I also had an idea of the style I wanted beforehand. I was set on sleeves and flirted between a bit of sparkle or lace. After trying on a few beaded numbers with sleeves, I felt like I was wearing a suit of armour, I quickly decided that my choice of destination and time of year meant sleeves were not an option and it was lace all the way. I was previously against outfit changes at weddings. I loved my dress so much I didn’t think I would have wanted to take it off. Until it was about 90 percent humidity and 38 degrees. I regret not having a second outfit as I was a little uncomfortable due to the heat.
On the accessories:
My favourite accessory was my metallic Lanvin Shoes. I love a bit of sparkle and these shoes made me feel more like myself on the day.
Was there anything that the groom was really keen on including in the wedding?
Everything. Nick has incredible style and, with his experience in food and events, he organised most our wedding. I was in charge of fashion and flowers and he did the rest. I’m incredibly lucky!
On the photographer:
We wanted the photographer to capture everything from a natural perspective. Nicka was both our photographer and videographer and did an outstanding job capturing the whole weekend. We were mainly after candid shots, with the essential family and bridal party the only posed photos. So I made a quick shot list the night before with names and family members and gave it to my sister. She organised everyone like a boss for every family shot and we had photos over and done within 30 minutes.
On the entertainment:
Music was about as important to us as our food and wine. We flew Jules Jay up from Melbourne to play from the pre-ceremony, right through to our recovery the next day. Jules proved to be worth his weight in gold. During the cocktail phase of the night one of the mixing decks blew, so he got in the car, drove to Byron Bay and borrowed one off a friend who owns a nightclub. He was very resourceful.
On their first dance:
Our first dance was to ‘Make it Wit Chu’ by Queen of the Stone Age.
Her tip for future brides:
If you are going to be in a hot climate, consider a second outfit that will allow you to be able to really relax and enjoy the party like you usually would. Alternatively, consider your material, breathability and layers. I chose my dress based on the location, however, I have never worn a wedding dress. I would also recommend wearing your dress a few times before the day to get used to it. It’s the last thing you put on and, like most brides, you are right on deadline before needing to leave, so there wasn’t much time for me to get comfortable with how I felt and looked.
Simply measure your bust, waist and hips and enter below. The measuring guide will recommend the ideal Suzanne Harward gown size in accordance to the largest measurement given.
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Care & Alterations
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By following the instructions on the care label you will keep your couture gown looking fabulous and at it’s absolute best.
Suzanne Harward does not provide an alterations service and this also applies to Suzanne Harward online styles. We recommend you take your pieces to a reputable local tailor. Please contact our Customer Care Team should you require advice regarding alteration services in your area.
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Each Suzanne Harward gown is individually handcrafted with great care and uses delicate fabric, embroideries, embellishment and lace to convey the same timeless, feminine and ethereal nature that is the Suzanne Harward handwriting. This may lead to variation in finish, colour and fabrication. Please take the utmost care when cleaning and wearing your gown as jewellery, finger nails and harsh detergents can harm delicate fabrics and finishes. Embellishments and fabrics may change in colour with time and wear adding to the charm and individuality of each piece. These are not faults in the production of the garment and are consistent with handmade couture quality. Your gown will arrive protected in acid free tissue paper and an organza cover covering any embellishment. A protective garment bag is provided to ensure the gown remains in impeccable condition. Please hang your gown in the garment bag when you receive your delivery.
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